Camino Nascente & Carmelita Camino Portugues Portugal Rota Carmelita

Day 9: Condeixa-a-Nova to Coimbra

Despite ten hours sleep, I was tired and just as importantly my legs were tired. Today was a short stage, 18 kms to Coimbra, but it was a hard to get through them. It wasn’t helped by being the most boring stage so far, walking along roads. The stage picked up a bit towards the end with great views over Coimbra and the bridge across the river Mondego.

The hotel I stayed last night was a former palace, and you certainly got that impression from the surrounding grounds and great views. There were many families with small children, which surprised me given it was a fairly high class place. Breakfast underwhelmed, but perhaps that just because I am getting used to Portuguese breakfast. They had an automated pancake machine, which was a big hit with the kids.

I set off in shorts on a beautiful and warm sunny day. It was past 10 o’clock by the time I left. I missed the first turn, which was fortunate, as it cut 1km off the route.

I walked downhill out of the Condeixa and uphill past a few villages. I met a number of walkers walking towards Fatima and who had left Coimbra this morning.  

In Cernache, the signs for the Camino stopped, only the signs for Fatima remained. Checking the map later, I can see the two split in Cernache, the Camino path going east of the very boring main road I was walking along. When I picked up the signs again, 4 or 5 kms before Coimbra, a man told me not to bother following them, as they joined the road I was walking soon anyway. 

As I got closer to Coimbra, being so high up above the city, there some good views over the city and surroundings. There was an abandoned and derelict castle (more a large house) with great views over the valley, and two or three similar abandoned houses along the road. Such a pity that such house are left to fall apart.

Closer to Coimbra there were great views over the city and not least the Santa Clara bridge crossing the river Mondego and the new and old monasteries.

I walked across the river into the old and commercial part of town. I had only walked 15km, not even half of yesterdays stage, but I felt just as tired as I had done yesterday.

Despite it only being 2pm, there were no problems getting the room. I rested for 15 minutes and left for a walk around a carnival packed town. Everybody was out, all the children dressed up and many adults with carnival accessories. There was a stage on one on the squares with DJ’s and live music. I walked around, just enjoying the beautiful weather – one of the digital weather signs said it was 24 degrees.

I visited the Monastery of Santa Cruz with its magnificent organ and sat on the square in front of the church watching the people passing by.

I stopped off at a bar and downed a beer before returning to the hotel. I had planned to wash clothes tomorrow morning, bur decided to do it now – at least it wasn’t taxing on my feet. The laundromat was only 150 meters away.

Later I went for dinner at one of Coimbra’s most famous restaurants, Solar da Bacalhau, where they serve salt dried cod – a specialty in Norway and Portugal. I have tried it once before in Norway, many years ago – from what I recall, this time was a more pleasant experience.

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